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Average User Score: 8.1Jun 3, 2013I cannot recommend this game enough, I played European Escalation since it came out and enjoyed it thoroughly. AirLand Battle is a excellentI cannot recommend this game enough, I played European Escalation since it came out and enjoyed it thoroughly. AirLand Battle is a excellent expansion on what was a revolutionary game in the Real Time Tactics genre. I believe only perfect games deserve 10/10 and every game I hav ever played has some detractions so here are the pros and cons.
There is finally a tutorial. Though I was immediately sucked into European Escalation due to the setting of the game and being a military/Cold War history buff, and was aware of the differences between, for example, an M1 (105mm gun) and an M1A1 (120mm), this is not the case for many. Having some background knowledge about period military tech will certainly be of assistance but the lack of a tutorial turned off many prospective players in European Escalation.
Aircraft. The titular addition changes the game into a much more dynamic (though still intense and tactical) game. In some ways it speeds the game up (call in an A-10 or two to deal with that tank column) and in some ways it slows it down (being cautious in your advance, making sure you have proper AA and air cover).
Tactical Depth. There is no "Killer Strat" in AirLand, no victory-guaranteeing tactic. There are many viable ways to win a battle. You can specialize in aircraft, bringing a world of hurt to the enemy in seconds, or you can favor armored columns bristling with anti-aircraft weaponry to punish the flyboys who think their aircraft make them God. You can leapfrog forests with infantry and turn every hedgerow into a porcupine of anti-tank and anti-aircraft infantry. You can use special forces to seek out and destroy enemy Command Vehicles and anti-aircraft weapons, paving the way for victory. Or you can mix and match all of the above as an experienced player does.
Good player base. It is a bit early to tell on this one, but many AirLand players are old European Escalation players, who, in my experience, were often good teammates and allies, and cunning enemies. That being said, if you are new I cannot recommend enough that you do the tutorial and play some skirmish battles against the AI, or watch some reviews to avoid some of the pitfalls of "noob" play that will frustrate your teammates.
Historical Accuracy. This one is less definite than those preceding it. Perhaps it would be better to say the game is "authentic" rather than "accurate." Given the limited space you have on a map (though still, very large, over a hundred square kilometers for the larger ones) some weapons must be scaled accordingly. Some missiles for example, have ranges of over 100km, but in game are rendered as 10km. I say it is authentic however, because the scaling is global, if a long range missile (like the AIM-54 Phoenix) has a range of 190km in real life, and a short ranged one (like the AIM-9 Sidewinder) has a range of 35km, in game they are rendered as 12km and 3.5km respectively, retaining their intended use, if not their precise real-world stats. Radar-guided anti-aircraft missiles are vulnerable to SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) weapons which will lock on to their targeting radar even when they are hidden. This can be countered by turning the weapon's radar system "off." It is details like these that make the game fun for enthusiasts, and can be difficult to learn for newcomers, though not by any means impossible.
The campaign. This is a minor con for me, but for many this can be a deal-breaker unfortunately (for the game, not the person). Though a substantial improvement over European Escalation, it is still entirely secondary to the multiplayer experience. I would like to correct some of the posts saying you cannot save the campaign. The game autosaves and all the autosaves are found under the "saved game" menu. That being said, the campaign is mildly entertaining at best. Good if you have an hour or two to kill, but do not want the pressure of a multiplayer game, or for those who must compulsively beat campaigns, but not particularly engaging.
Learning Curve. Pro and a con. People have accurately (in my opinion) stated that AirLand Battle can be a difficult game to learn and a very difficult one to master. If you played European Escalation, it will not be a problem, but for new players, the number of units and the detail on each unit card, different weapon systems, and game mechanics can seem very daunting. I would urge one to play the game for a couple of weeks before decrying the difficulty though. It is much less difficult seeming once a player understands the various mechanics and what stats are important on unit cards. Once they have learned how to learn from the game, the real fun begins, with testing new tactics and weapons.
In summation, the game is exceptionally detailed and well made, though there are still some minor balance issues to be solved, but this does not merit concern as Eugen has been good about addressing the player bases' concern.… Expand